Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE, stood by his tweet calling Friday's unemployment rate of 7.8 percent "unbelievable."
"I have no idea where this number came from," he told Fox News. "I don't know what the right number is, but I'll tell you these numbers dont smell right when you think about where the economy is right now."
Welch wasn't the only one offering conspiracy theories though; Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) wrote on his Facebook page that the unemployment rate fell below 8 percent through "manipulation of data" and CNBC personality Rick Santelli said "I told you they'd get it under 8 percent -- they did! You can let America decide how they got there!"
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis responded to the attacks Friday morning calling jobs report conspiracies "ludicrous."
Still, Welch was steadfast, saying his tweet was "called worse than that."
"I don't know the way that the fancy folks in Washington do it, but this is a funny thing that happened," Welch said. "The month before the election we have a number that comes out one-tenth below where it was when the president took office."
Later, Welch got into tiff with MSNBC host Chris Matthews, who said, "It must be embarrassing for you to do a tweet now with the power you once had." Matthews went on to ask Welch if he "talked to any economists."
Welch responded: "I know that these numbers are gathered by a series of wild assumptions."
The argument escalated as Matthews asked Welch, "Do you want to take that back? This is an assertion that there was jimmying with these numbers."
Welch laughed and Matthews shot back, "It's not funny, Jack!"
UPDATE: This post has been updated to include Welch's comments on MSNBC.
Also on HuffPost:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jobs-report-conspiracy-theory-baseless_n_1942685.html">Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, tweeted</a> on Friday that President Obama's team must have cooked the September jobs numbers in order to help his reelection chances. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/jobs-report-conspiracy-theory-baseless_n_1942685.html">these claims are baseless</a>: The Bureau of Labor Statistics is an independent agency that conducts scientific random surveys.
Rush Limbaugh On Jobs Report
Long before <a href="https://twitter.com/jack_welch/status/254198154260525057">Jack Welch accused the Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> of cooking its books to help President Obama on Oct. 5, conservative talk show host <a href="http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2012/02/03/happy_days_are_here_again_in_obamaville_raw_jobs_numbers_tell_very_different_story">Rush Limbaugh claimed in February</a> that the Bureau of Labor Statistics' seasonal adjustment of the jobs numbers amounted to cooking the books to help President Obama. He said that "the raw number" from December to January meant "we lost two million jobs." But economists agree that seasonal adjustment is critical for month-to-month measurements, since there are seasonal factors that add noise to the data otherwise. (Hat tip: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/economic-conspiracy-theories-2012-8?op=1">Business Insider</a>.)
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/donald-trump-federal-reserve_n_1882256.html">Real estate mogul Donald Trump told CNBC</a> in September that the Federal Reserve is "creating phony numbers and they're doing it through stimulus." The Fed has bought securities in its three rounds of quantitative easing, which many economists argued has had a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/21/federal-reserves-bond-buy_n_881805.html"> real effect on the economy</a>.
Republican political strategist <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/media/2008/12/09/33404/rove-oreilly-economy/">Karl Rove and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly said</a> in December 2008 that journalists exaggerated the economic crisis then so that anything under President Obama would be an improvement. But the economy really was in a deep recession at the time.
Erin Burnett ON Fed Stimulus
<a href="http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/2012/08/31/fed-chairman-ben-bernanke-defends-stimulus-that-cost-1-million-per-job/">CNN anchor Erin Burnett said</a> on her show "Erin Burnett OutFront" on Aug. 31 that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke may embark on another round of quantitative easing, a type of monetary stimulus, in order to help Obama get reelected and keep his own job. But the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is independent and makes its monetary policy decisions based on how the economy is doing. Also, Bernanke is a registered Republican and was appointed by George W. Bush.
Rush Limbaugh On Financial Crisis
Conservative talk show host <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2008/12/22/34058/limbaugh-democrats-indy/">Rush Limbaugh claimed in December 2008</a> that President Obama helped cause the financial crisis so that he could gain power. (Hat tip: <a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/economic-conspiracy-theories-2012-8?op=1">Business Insider</a>.)
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.), who believes America should abolish the Federal Reserve and go back to the gold standard, <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/04/14/the-conspiracy-theorists-history-of-gold.aspx">said in 2010</a> that the New York Fed might not have any gold in its vaults, according to The Motley Fool. Actually, <a href="http://www.newyorkfed.org/education/addpub/goldvault.pdf">it does</a>.
Erin Burnett On Food And Gas Prices
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/08/erin-burnett-federal-reserve_n_1866971.html">CNN anchor Erin Burnett claimed</a> on her show "Erin Burnett OutFront" in September that the Federal Reserve's stimulus measures have caused food and gas prices to rise. But <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/08/erin-burnett-federal-reserve_n_1866971.html">there has been no correlation</a> between the two.